Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Waging War on Net Neutrality

All hail your new internet overlords! If you hated Crapcast before, you'll hate them even more if the FCC pushes through net neutrality.

You've probably heard of the phrase "net neutrality" before, but it's likely that you, like me, didn't really know what it exactly entails.

Basically speaking, it's something that the FCC is trying to push through that would, in essence, allow evil internet service providers like Comcast and Time Warner Cable pick and choose who gets access to the best data speeds.

Why is this an issue? Well, it would rip the internet from the hands of us average folks and place it in the gold plated, Benjamin lined, velvet covered, well-moisturized arms of rich corporations. The Apples and Microsofts of the world would get to pay ISPs for the so-called "fast lanes" of the internet, while less fortunate companies like, say Netflix, would be left out in the cold.

You're probably scratching your head at that one. Isn't Netflix successful, you ask? Well sure, but the amount of money they make is nowhere near in proportion to the amount of data they consume. I don't have the exact figures, but the amount of data Netflix uses is massive, almost unimaginable. ISPs would love to have an excuse to take Netflix's data privileges away and give them to somebody who they could actually profit off of. Say goodbye to binge watching Sherlock and Doctor Who! Allons-y!

To put it even simpler, in terms of how exactly this would hurt you, let's say Apple has this cool service they want to test out. They make a deal with an ISP to lock up all the high speed lanes for this service, forcing consumers to go with their offering if they want to have a decent online experience. At the same time, the Netflixs, Pandoras, and Spotifys of the world would be relegated to the slow-lanes, since they don't make the kinds of profits to compete with whatever Apple is shelling out. Internet service providers would essentially be dictating the market.

That being said, it's promising that companies like Amazon and Microsoft have signed letters to the FCC stating that net neutrality is unwanted. Which makes sense if you think about it, because dividing the internet into fast and slow lanes hurts them as well, as their services like Amazon Instant Video and Xbox Music would be hampered by having to compete for data speed.

If you want more on net neutrality, check out this article by one of my former professors, Matthew Lasar, who writes for the website They specialize on these sorts of issues, if you couldn't already tell based on the name.

I look at it like this: our society is pretty crappy right now, with all the corpulent investment bankers, demonically possessed politicians, and greedy professionals seeking to nickel and dime everybody to their heart's content.  Do we really want the hell-hole that is real life transplanted onto our cushy, air conditioned virtual world? The internet represents true freedom. We used to be able to say that about the United States, but, ha, that's no longer the case.

There's pretty much nothing we can do about the hopeless nature of reality on Earth at this point. Both the left (occupy movement) and the right (tea party) failed to beat back the rotten establishment gobbling up our country from within, like an engorged rabid termite in a log cabin. We can, however, still wage an effective resistance on the interwebs. So, folks, form battle lines! Load your muskets! Fire up your Twitters, stalk Facebook, peruse Reddit, and do whatever else you need to do to ready yourself for the coming onslaught from the FCC!

It'll take all of us to beat back the powers that be. Are you with me? (I hope with that inspirational ending I'm just a bit closer to being as cool as my idol, Joshua L. Chamberlain).

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